Columbia’s historic Babcock Building has been cleared to undergo renovations after previously catching fire earlier this year.
The Babcock Building, located off Bull Street in downtown Columbia, was first built between 1857 and 1885 and was used to treat patients with mental illnesses. The building caught fire in September, causing extensive damage to the building’s historic dome and much of its interior.
The Babcock Building was undergoing renovations to create over 200 apartments in the historic structure before the blaze took place. The renovations will follow the same plan and cost around $55 million, which is being provided by a low-interest federal loan through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The project is supposed to take three years to complete and is part of a large-scale redevelopment plan for the BullStreet District.
In a statement on the approval of the renovation, Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin said, “This announcement is a tremendous Christmas gift to all of the Midlands. Babcock has an important place in our past and, more importantly, our future.”